Article in Sidmouth Herald 31 January 2014

Red tape delays FolkWeek move.

FolkWeek organisers have revealed that controversial plans for the festival to leave Its long-term Bulverton base for Salcombe Hill will not happen this year. Bosses had hoped to relocate the event's campsite to the beauty spot - and create a new music venue there - in time for its 60th anniversary in August.

But red tape has meant the major change, which has garnered opposition from nearby residents, cannot yet become a reality. The mooted move was granted a licence in December but festival chiefs have been told they need planning permission.

Festival director John Braithwaite said the decision had been taken with festival-goers in mind. FolkWeek's campsite will stay in Bulverton this summer along with the Festival Clubhouse.

Mr Braithwaite said organising the 60th anniversary has been a 'mammoth enterprise' and the focus is on bringing guests 'a special and memorable programme'. He added: "For that reason, in 2014 we will be staying at Bulverton with our much loved and well established campsite and clubhouse.

"To ensure that our customers and guests knew as early as possible, with absolute certainty, what our plans were for this year, we set a deadline of end of January for any changes to this area of the festival. Needing planning permission to go forward has pushed the project past the deadline date. So that customers can book with certainty, we decided to announce our intentions as early as possible, so that we can concentrate on giving guests a blockbuster festival to remember."

"We are already feeling the excitement of this year's event, bringing, as it will, a host of memories and new experiences for our guests in every part of the festival."

The move from Bulverton to a 13-acre site at Salcombe Hill was described as the biggest change in the festival's history when it was made public in October. More than 60 letters of objection were submitted to the district council when the licensing application, to provide entertainment and refreshments into the early hours to 1,500 revellers, was considered.

Comment on the mudcat forum website on 2 February 2014 included the following:

Are we expected to believe that it has recently been discovered that the new site would require a planning application as well as a licence application (for alcohol/entertainment etc)? This would have been known probably a year or more ago given the number of people who have been involved, including from the town council.

It is more plausible that the upbeat October announcement First public announcement of campsite move was intended to be a dry run to gauge opinions and the strength of any opposition. This is often done in planning for new homes on Green Belt or for contentious alterations to existing buildings - let the first wave of criticism die down and then slip it through when no-one is looking.

In October it was claimed that a final decision would be made by Christmas. In the latest article this deadline slipped to the end of January - and with the need to obtain planning permission being cited as the reason why the new deadline could not be met.

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